Columbia's Classes Go Remote: 'We Need a Reset'

Monday classes will be virtual at Ivy League, where pro-Palestinian protests are at center of commotion
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2024 8:25 AM CDT
Columbia's Classes Go Remote: 'We Need a Reset'
Police in riot gear stand guard as demonstrators chant slogans outside Columbia University's campus on Thursday in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

On the West Coast, a canceled valedictorian speech; on the East Coast, canceled in-person classes at Columbia. The Israel-Hamas war factors into both incidents, as tensions continue while the conflict rages overseas. Columbia President Nemat "Minouche" Shafik has announced classes at Columbia will be held virtually on Monday, as school leaders "try to bring this crisis to a resolution," reports NBC News. "Students across an array of communities have conveyed fears for their safety." She's referring to the pro-Palestinian protests and encampment on the New York campus this week, and the commotion that's resulted. More:

  • Chabad reaction: On Sunday, the university's Chabad issued a statement noting that "over the last few days, things have taken a turn for the worse" on and off campus. The group said Jewish students at the school had fielded barbs from protesters like "stop killing children" and "all you do is colonize."
  • Warnings: Rabbi Elie Buechler of the school's Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus told CNN he sent a message to hundreds of Jewish students suggesting they "return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality in and around campus has dramatically improved." The campus Hillel doesn't recommend that, but it did note on X that "the University and the City need to do more to ensure the safety of our students."
  • President's reaction: In a statement, Shafik said she was "deeply saddened" by the turmoil and noted that "these tensions have been exploited and amplified by individuals who are not affiliated with Columbia who have come to campus to pursue their own agendas." She added: "We need a reset."

  • Protesters' reaction: Columbia's Students for Justice in Palestine agrees that "inflammatory individuals who do not represent us" have infiltrated the protests, and says "we firmly reject any form of hate or bigotry and stand against nonstudents attempting to disrupt our solidarity."
  • Test for Columbia chief: That's how CNN frames it for Shafik, who's been leading Columbia for less than a year. While some are upset at how she's dealing with antisemitism—including GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, who led the charge against other Ivy League leaders last fall and has already called for Shafik's resignation—others are calling Shafik out for authorizing the NYPD to sweep the encampment on Thursday, leading to more than 100 arrests, per the Columbia Spectator.
(More Columbia University stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.